Mag-na-port’s craftsmanship and the Maori’s penchant for aggressive fighting against their enemies has resulted in this eye-catching S&W Model 69 .44 Magnum. While the 69 is a great field revolver — light enough to tote (34 oz.), but heavy enough to be steady — I think its forte is as a defensive/fighting handgun. Compact, but still able to handle full-power .44 Magnum loads, more modest .44 Specials and even CCI shot cartridges, this versatility gives the original design legs. But, even competency in a category can be improved upon.

When I first chatted with Ken Kelly of Mag-na-port about this gun, I basically told him I pictured it as an “all-the-time” gun, not a safe queen. If someone needs a serious trail pistol, back-up in Alaska, a “final-word” defensive gun, or “every-day-carry” to be relied upon, I think the L-Frame Model 69 is a nearly perfect starting platform. Mag-na-port’s sage modifications give it panache — and hone usability.

I turned Mag-na-port loose on the base gun with those few general thoughts, and when I saw the final result — the stout, “tattooed” look — the Haka’s powerful legacy leapt to my mind. And Haka! it became, heartily endorsed by Ken Kelly at Mag-na-port.